Building Stronger Condo Communities

On December 3, 2015, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (known as Bill 106) received Royal Assent after being passed by the Ontario legislature.

This momentous occasion comes 3 years, 5 months and 25 days after the Ontario Government announced its plan to review the Condominium Act, 1998.

That review process spanned 18 months and received public input at information sessions across the province and thousands of written and online submissions. In addition, the review included a dedicated residents’ panel, five professional working groups on key topics, an expert panel to vet the working group recommendations and various technical teams, all to inform the ministry staff who drafted the legislation. Bill 106 was then introduced in the legislature in May 2015.

The various changes in Bill 106 fall into five categories identified early in the Condo Act Review process as the major areas needing reform:

1. Improved dispute resolution
2. Stronger consumer protection
3. More transparent condo finances
4. Greater openness and accountability in governance
5. Condo manager licensing and regulation

Watch for further commentary on the specific changes in the coming weeks and months, but see here for our ongoing examination of the CMSA.

As reported earlier, Bill 106 includes two schedules, the first being amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 (“Condo Act”) and other statutes. The second schedule contains the entirely new Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (“CMSA”) which is a separate statute that stands apart from the Condo Act.

While Bill 106 is now on the books as law, the various changes to the Condo Act and the new CMSA are not yet legally in force. Section 2 of Bill 106 provides that the two schedules (whether in whole or in part) come into force when proclaimed by the government.

We don’t know when the schedules will be proclaimed in force, but some readers may recall that the Condo Act was enacted in December 1998 but not proclaimed in force until May 5, 2001. This 2 ½ year delay allowed time for regulations under the Act to be drafted and promulgated and for condo managers, developers, directors, owners and their professionals to prepare for the changes. Given that most of the changes in Bill 106 will be fleshed out in regulations that yet to be drafted, we expect that proclamation is 12-36 months out.

And because the regulations will provide the nuts and bolts of many of the changes to come, it is not yet possible to provide a complete analysis of changes to operations and responsibilities, though many or clients have asked.  We expect to report on significant changes to the condo lingo and new forms to use. Further, owners can expect to receive a fair amount of new information more frequently and can likely expect to see their operating costs increasing accordingly.

An official, bilingual pdf copy of Bill 106 at Royal Assent, featuring brief explanatory notes, is available here. The various changes made by Bill 106 to the Condo Act are not yet fully integrated into the online version of the Condo Act on the e-Laws website, but soon will be. The entire full text of the CMSA is already available on e-Laws.